Identity Theft By Kerry Freeman, EA
What is Identity Theft? • The collection of personal information for dishonest purposes • Personal information includes: • Name • Address • Credit card or bank account numbers • Social Security numbers • Medical information • Children's information
The Most-Used Social Security Number of all Time: (078-05-1120) In 1938, a wallet manufacturer wanted to show potential buyers how well their Social Security cards would fit in their wallets, so they put fake ones in and sold them to thousands of people. The cards were printed in red and said "specimen.” The use of this number peaked in 1943 when 5,755 used it as their own. It was used as late as 1977, the Social Security Administration notes. Overall, more than 40,000 used the number.
Where are Thieves Getting the Information? • Discarded bills and tax returns • Family members • Hackers and phishing e-mails • Unsecure computers and viruses • Medical professionals • Schools • Dumpster diving
Who are the Most Common Victims? • Seniors • Children under 18
What is Happening Today? • The IRS collects thousands of early tax returns submitted by crooks that collected your Social Security information and want your refund. • Often a person does not know she has been a victim until she properly e-files her return weeks or months later. • Often these are both domestic and foreign organized crime groups. • Seldom is anyone caught.
I am a Victim. What Now? • File your return by paper with all supporting documents. • Complete Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. • Pay your taxes. • Identity Protection PIN. • File a police report. • File an FTC complaint. • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus.
How Long Does it Take? • The IRS has only 3,000 specialty personnel that work on these cases. • They have trained over 23,000 to identify victims. • IRS suspected and stopped more than 3.6 million returns filed by identity thieves in the 2014 filing season. • The average wait time is 120 to 240 days to resolve this issue.
For More Information… To learn more or if you think you are a victim contact your local enrolled agent (EA) from NAEA. Enrolled agents are licensed by the U.S Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Visit www.eatax.org and click “Find an EA.” Thank You.